The Watch

Vallegrande Area Rock Art Sites

Vallegrande and Saipina, Bolivia

2002 and 2004 World Monuments Watch

With their extraordinary paintings and petroglyphs dating from possibly 6000 B.C. to A.D. 1950, the Andean rock art sites El Buey, Toro Muerto, Palmanto, and Paja Colorada are among the most significant of their kind in Bolivia. Palmarito is still revered as a place of pilgrimage by the local community. Although El Buey and Palmarito remain in relatively good condition, both Toro Muerto and Paja Colorada have suffered from vandalism. All four sites are threatened by uncontrolled tourism. The local municipalities would like to include these sites within a tourism circuit, but at present there is no plan for either their preservation or protection. The Bolivian Rock Art Society has begun working with the municipality of Vallegrande to address the problem; however, time is of the essence. The sites are in desperate need of a professional survey, education campaign, and training program, as well as security precautions and visitor services.

Since the Watch

A fence was erected at the entrance to the cave of Paja Colorada, considered the most significant of the four rock art sites. This work was accomplished through the support of the Fundación Cultural banco Central de Bolivia and the Bradshaw Foundation, a Swiss organization dedicated to protecting ancient rock art sites worldwide. Despite this measure, the site has frequently been vandalized. Last update: January 2011

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